Cannonau is the Sardinian name for the red wine grape known elsewhere as Grenache or Garnacha. The best known Cannonau wines belong to the Cannonau di Sardegna Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) on the island of Sardinia. The grape’s name is sometimes spelled Cannonao.
The Cannonau di Sardegna DOC produces red and rosé wines from the Cannonau grape. The red wines may be produced in three ways: a dry style, a sweet style known as passito or into a fortified wine known as liquoroso.
Dry red Cannonau di Sardegna may also be produced in a riserva style, with strict regulations in place controlling minimum alcohol levels and aging times, among other aspects. Riserva-level Cannonau di Sardegna must have at least 13% alcohol-by-volume (ABV), and a minimum ageing time of two years, at least six months of which must be in barrels, with oak and chestnut being particularly popular.
The Cannonau grape produces powerful and full-bodied red wines with medium alcohol, soft acidity and generous red-fruit flavors of raspberry and strawberry, alongside more floral and spicy notes. It may be produced as a single varietal wine or blended with other varieties. The Cannonau grape is ideal for blending because it adds body and fruit without adding tannin.
Under the names Grenache and Garnacha, the Cannonau grape is widely cultivated in France and Spain, respectively.
Key regions in France include the Rhône Valley and southern regions in and around Languedoc-Roussillon. In the southern Rhône Valley, the grape is used in blends of Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) wines, such as Châteauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueyras and the broader Côtes-du-Rhône and Côtes du Rhône-Villages. The most significant Languedoc-Roussillon appellations for Grenache include Minervois, Fitou and Corbières. Grenache is ideal for the French fortified wines known as vin doux naturel, notably those of Maury, Banyuls and Rivesaltes, all located in the Roussillon region.
In Spain, Cannonau is known as Garnacha and is widely planted. Among the most important regions to know are Denominación de Origen (DO) level designations like Aragon, Campo de Borja, Calatayud, Cariñena and Navarra. Garnacha is also significant in the Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOC) regions of Rioja and Priorat.
Under the name Grenache, it is also cultivated in Australia, where it forms an integral part of the so-called GSM blends, alongside Syrah and Mourvèdre. Grenache can also be found in the USA, particularly in California and Washington.
Learn more about this fruity varietal using Wine Enthusiast’s online Buying Guide. You’ll find our expert tasters have rated thousands of Cannonau wines and provided their professional opinions of them below!
Mora & Memo 2017 Nau (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaSmooth, fragrant and utterly delicious, this opens with heady aromas of vineyard ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$20
Vigne Surrau 2015 Sincaru Riserva (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaThis delicious, polished red shows more body and structure than most wines ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$35
Argiolas 2014 Senes Riserva (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaMouthwatering aromas of ripe wild berry, dark baking spice, Mediterranean scrub and ...See Full Review$45
Sella & Mosca 2015 Riserva (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaYou'll find aromas of wild red berry, dark spice, leather and a ...See Full Review$17
Siddura 2015 Fòla (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaScorched earth, underbrush, leather, Mediterranean scrub and mature black-skinned berry aromas lead ...See Full Review$23
Vigneti Zanatta 2014 Tararà Riserva (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaAromas of wild herb, Mediterranean scrub, prune and leather slowly take shape ...See Full Review$40
Vigne Surrau 2016 Sincaru (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaWild berry, clove and graphite aromas lead the nose on this easy-drinking, ...See Full Review$26
Mesa 2016 Primo Scuro (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaAromas of red berry, Marasca cherry and ground pepper follow over to ...See Full Review$15
F.lli Puddu 2014 Nepente di Oliena Carros Classico (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaThis opens with aromas of wild red berry, Mediterranean brush and a ...See Full Review$26
Ferruccio Deiana 2015 Sileno Riserva (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaThis fragrant red offers enticing scents of eucalyptus, mature black-skinned berry, Mediterranean ...See Full Review$30
Gabbas 2013 Arborè (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaPrune, exotic spice and Mediterranean-scrub aromas lift out of the glass. The ...See Full Review$45
Olianas 2015 Riserva (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaMade with organically farmed grapes, fermented in amphora and aged in both ...See Full Review$27
Pala 2015 Riserva (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaThis opens with earthy aromas of scorched soil, leather, game and a ...See Full Review$30
Pala 2017 I Fiori (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaThis rounded red opens with subtle aromas of ripe black-skinned berry, scorched ...See Full Review$18
Ledda 2015 Tenuta Monte Santu Ceràsa (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaWild berry, violet and Mediterranean-brush aromas shape the nose. The smooth easygoing ...See Full Review$25
Cantina Santa Maddalena 2017 Le Bombarde (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaThis easygoing red has aromas of wild red berry and baking spice. ...Best BuySee Full Review$13
Cantina Pedres 2016 Cerasio (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaAromas of wild red berry, exotic spice and a whiff of sea ...See Full Review$25
Gabbas 2014 Dule (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaAromas of crushed mint, grilled mushroom, vanilla and a whiff of cellar ...See Full Review$39
Vigneti Zanatta 2016 Salana (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaAromas of wild berry, dark spice, leather and a whiff of farmyard ...See Full Review$17
Mandrolisai 2014 Kent'Annos (Cannonau di Sardegna)Sicily & SardiniaThis has a shy nose that eventually reveals aromas of dark-skinned fruit ...See Full Review$14